By Gary J. Remal
Boston Herald

A court-appointed master has ordered a lawyer for Tom Scholz to pay more than $17,000 to the Herald in attorney's fees as a sanction against her for withholding almost 20,000 pages of evidence some 14 months after a judge had ordered the Boston rocker to produce them.

Scholz, the founder of the band Boston, is suing the paper over three 2007 Inside Track columns that he claims imply that he drove fellow band member Brad Delp to commit suicide in March 2007.

Discovery Master Thomas F. Maffei found that Susan E. Stenger, of the Boston law firm Burns & Levinson, and not Scholz, was responsible for failing to produce nine boxes containing some 19,000 documents ordered to be produced by Massachusetts Superior Court Judge John C. Cratsley in the summer of 2010, but not provided to the Herald's attorneys until this past October.

But Maffei found that Stenger was not engaging in any intentional misconduct.

"I find no basis to conclude that the late production of the nine boxes was intentional on Ms. Stenger's part, that she purposely violated a court order, or that she withheld the boxes because Mr. Scholz directed her to do so," Maffei wrote in his Dec. 23 order. "The failure was a mistake, plain and simple."

Stenger declined to comment.