The Real Deal New York

Real estate scion died of accidental drug overdose: medical examiner

TF Cornerstone's Max Elghanayan, son of Frederick, died at age 30 in January
By Eddie Small | February 23, 2018 08:00AM

Max Elghanayan (Credit: Holly Dutton/Real Estate Weekly)

Max Elghanayan, the son of TF Cornerstone co-founder Frederick Elghanayan, died of an accidental drug overdose in January, according to the New York City Medical Examiner. He is among a handful of real estate scions who have lost their lives in opioid-related incidents.

Max, 30, had worked as a vice president at his family’s company, focusing on design development and megaprojects like the firm’s six-tower development around Long Island City’s iconic PepsiCo sign.

He had taken several opioids at the time of his death, according to the Medical Examiner.

Representatives from TF Cornerstone did not respond to a request for comment.

Opioid overdoses have reached epidemic proportions in the U.S., with the drugs killing more than 42,000 people across the country in 2016, more than any other year on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Prescription opioids are one of the main factors behind this increase, with deaths from them more than quadrupling since 1999, according to the CDC. The crisis has recently claimed the lives of famed musicians including Prince and Tom Petty, and the real estate industry is not immune to it, either.

Steve Witkoff’s son Andrew Witkoff died of an Oxycontin overdose at age 22 in 2011, and SJP Properties CEO Steven Pozycki’s son Steven Michael Pozycki died of a heroin overdose at age 32 in 2012.

Witkoff discussed his son’s death with The Real Deal in 2014, saying he was “not sure I could imagine a tougher circumstance.”

“I think about what other people go through,” he said, “and that is sort of what gave me the strength on my journey since his death.”

Steven Pozycki and his wife Elaine Pozycki have both become strong advocates for combating prescription-drug abuse in the wake of their son’s death. They are both on the board of Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, where Elaine also serves as co-chair, and have written multiple op-eds advocating for measures such as greater education about the risks of opioid treatment.