A story in yesterday's Post about a report charging that officials of the Department of Housing and Urban Devel- opment illegally used chauffeur-driven cars inadvertently omitted a first reference to Inspector General Charles Dempsey, the author of the report.
Donald I. Hovde, undersecretary of the Housing and Urban Development Department, said yesterday he will repay the government about $2,800 in overtime costs for using an agency car to commute from his home in McLean.
The Justice Department is examining whether to take any action against Hovde after HUD's inspector general, Charles Dempsey, reported that top HUD officials had used government cars and chauffeurs 280 times since early 1981 to drive between their homes and HUD's offices.
It is illegal for any HUD official except Secretary Samuel R. Pierce Jr. to use a federal car for personal commuting, but prosecutions in such cases are extremely rare.
"It was just an honest error, inadvertently made," Hovde said. "As soon as we found out about it, I immediately quit using the car." He said it came to his attention last June during the furor over former Veterans Administration chief Robert P. Nimmo's personal use of a government limousine.
Hovde, who gets a federal car during business hours, said the restriction applies only to HUD and a few other departments because of a law initiated by Sen. William Proxmire (D-Wis.), who released the IG's report. "Most of my peers have the use of a vehicle," Hovde said.
The report also said that chauffeurs drove HUD officials to National Airport on 80 occasions at a cost of $15.73 a trip (compared to $5.75 for a taxi and a 15 percent tip.)
HUD's motor vehicle staff, which knew about the unauthorized trips but failed to report them, has received $111,000 in overtime pay over the last two years.