BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) —  Former City Council candidate Rajvir Gill pleaded not guilty Friday to seven counts of soliciting a crime after he allegedly tried to hire men to shoot people with whom he had longstanding disputes and burn down a Sikh temple.

Gill, 60, was arrested March 4 after police said he approached several people to shoot leaders of the Shaheed temple in southwest Bakersfield. He also sought people to burn the structure, police said.

One person told police Gill offered him $10,000 to shoot a man and his son in the kneecaps, according to a probable cause declaration.

“The subject stated Gill took him to the victim’s residence and told him what vehicle the victim and his son drove as well as showed him a picture of the victim,” an officer wrote in the declaration.

Five people came forward and said Gill offered them $2,000 to burn down the temple, according to the declaration.

Gill, who ran for Ward 7 City Council last year and lost to Manpreet Kaur, is free on $60,000 bail and due back in court May 17.

Defense lawyers Jared M. Thompson and Kyle J. Humphrey of Humphrey & Thompson are representing Gill. Thompson said in the coming weeks they’ll be assessing the character of those involved, investigating the validity of what’s alleged and getting to the truth of what happened.

“At this point in time all there are are accusations,” Thompson said. “Accusations mean nothing under our law.”

A former employee of Gill told 17 News the ex-candidate had for years been involved in disputes with others at the temple. The employee said he and other workers rejected Gill’s proposal they burn down the temple, and as a result he fired them and threatened to report them to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.